Brice Woodall – Some Odd Years

 This is rather lovely. It’s a four-song EP which can be purchased on Bandcamp here, either as a cassette or as a name-your-price download, and I have been very much enjoying it over the last few weeks.

The music is that blend of acoustic instruments and low-key electronic beats which tends to be tagged as folktronica. It’s an annoying label, but I suppose it’s appropriate enough, and I’m not sure I can really think of a better one.

To be more precise, this music is a woozy concoction, with lovely, flighty vocals offset by fairly minimal, dreamy and wonderfully atmospheric instrumentation.

I suppose you could pick out elements of the Magnetic Fields here and there, particular when the beats are at their thinnest and most rattly.  The band will probably hate me for the comparison, but you can conjure roughly what to expect by taking the Postal Service’s template, thinning it right down and instead of pushing for the lush and the radio-friendly, aiming for something more plaintive and lost, perhaps a little closer to the more downbeat moments of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.

The key difference between Brice Woodall and the bands I’ve just mentioned, however, is in the nature of the beat.  Where the other bands are insistent and purposeful, this stuff feels a little more like it’s sinking into the mist, and even the gorgeous guitar jangle on Even the Mice and Snakes can’t lift the song from the quicksand of the insistent pulse in the background.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the whole EP feels rather like it is losing a battle with its own inner despondency, and drifting slowly into defeated apathy, this is really rather lovely. Maybe it’s the way the vocal feels like it alone is not giving up that does it, but in amongst all the excuses to drift into narcosis that this EP gives us, Some Odd Years feels like it has somehow managed to resist its own temptation.

Brice Woodall – Fables